The first scheduled race of the International GT Open at Silverstone, England concluded with a fourth and fifth spot finish for the Ferrari crews of Spirit of Race and Kessel Racing. The race was defined by double Safety Car incursions although there was a fair share of thrilling duels, particularly in the Pro-Am category. For the two Ferraris competing, the final result, just short of the podium, might bring some satisfaction, however sights are already firmly set on tomorrow’s encounter.
Chaotic start. The race start offered the only thrills of the opening stretches of the event from the moment that a McLaren hit a barrier at Becketts followed by multiple contacts at Stowe, involving three cars, which forced the race stewards to call out the Safety Car. The neutralisation phase lasted several minutes, favouring the crews from the Pro-Am class who had employed gentleman drivers for the first phases of the race. Some 46 minutes from the end, the race resumed its regular course, just prior to the opening of the pit-lane. Duncan Cameron, at the wheel of the 488 GT3 courtesy of Spirit of Race pitted seven minutes later and handed over to Matt Griffin, while John Hartshorne made way for Oliver Hancock in the Ferrari of Kessel Racing.
Safety car once more. The race entered into an open-ended phase ahead of the second Safety Car appearance, this time deployed to clean up after Roda’s Mercedes had shed liquids on the track putting the track grip into jeopardy. On this occasion too, the machines proceeded slowly for over ten minutes leaving a mere fifteen minutes to run before the chequered flag would eventually drop. The battle for the Pro-Am class came alive thanks to the comebacks staged by Griffin and Hancock, among others. The Irish driver pounced and overtook Tom Onslow-Cole before going on the hunt for Finnish driver Tujula, closely followed by Hancock. The driver from the Spirit of Race crew made perhaps too many demands on his tyres and had to endure being caught and passed by Onslow-Cole as well as Hancock. The driver in the Kessel Racing livery took the baton from Griffin to attack Tujula but was unable to overcome the Lamborghini and indeed, in the final fray, became victim of a decisive overtaking manoeuvre by Griffin which dropped him down the order to fifth place in Pro-Am class. The Irish driver, meanwhile, was rewarded with fourth place for the borderline yet effective manoeuvre.
Race-2. Tomorrow sees the second race of the International GT Open which gets underway at 15:00 and will last sixty minutes.